Kristianne Molina

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Kristianne Molina Studio
Photo Credit: Kristianne Molina

Kristianne Molina

Jersey City, NJ

Artist


How did you get started in your craft – and how does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic? 

The Genesis of my exposure started at childhood. Going to practice and committing to art classes took discipline and became foundation for different facets of my life: art, athletics, writing, and relationships. I learned that knowledge and skill evolve which helped developed my aesthetics. I believe in aesthetics and then there’s style, they are mostly synonymous.

How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career? 

In a fundamental sense, women are instrumental to whom I have become.

I have a single mother that brought my brother and I from the Philippines and raised us in the east coast. My grandmother came to New York and worked at Zaro’s bakery for 30 years to help support eight of her children, mostly living in the Philippines.

I’ve met women along the way that I admired and they have helped navigate my way. It takes a village to raise a child and I was lucky enough to have strong women along my path. My high school art teachers were women and my varsity basketball coach was a woman. Most of my favorite artists are women.

At the Women’s March before inauguration I walked with my mother who last marched at the People’s Power Revolution in the Philippines and women artists in my community at Mana Contemporary. That was an empowering moment.

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

Constantly learning and unlearning. Trends are so catchy sometimes I try not to get sucked into it like quicksand. When I start searching for something that doesn’t exist often I feel a need to create that nonexistent thing.

Some days I make responsive work to current events and try to learn more about the subjects. I feel connected in that way. When we read the news and hear about international affairs or cultural crisis it’s hard to feel connected when your reality is someplace else. Honestly take time to reflect and physically respond creatively from a genuine place.

I’m not sure if I am ever ahead of the curve haha.

At the Women’s March before inauguration I walked with my mother who last marched at the People’s Power Revolution in the Philippines and women artists in my community at Mana Contemporary. That was an empowering moment.

Kristianne Molina Studio
Photo Credit: Kristianne Molina

How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)? 

I’m trying to be kinder to myself and its been helping with productivity. Doing the most essential thing, listening to my body, resting when I’m tired, and eating when I am hungry, and daydreaming. Activities we take for granted.

I try to ride the waves of full energy when I’m really fired up to work on a project, write down an idea, or problem solve an idea. That energy pushes me through exhaustion.

When we read the news and hear about international affairs or cultural crisis it’s hard to feel connected when your reality is someplace else. Honestly take time to reflect and physically respond creatively from a genuine place.

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor? 

In Ryan Holiday’s book Ego is the enemy he calls this Plus, Minus and Equals. Plus is someone who is teaching you, Minus is someone you are passing it on to, and Equal is someone who is your match. You should have people filling each category.

Mentorship is essential. If you don’t have a mentor, find one. A mentorship is organic chemistry, and you can’t fake the funk. I believe a mentorship must have mutual respect.

I have mentors for different facets of my life. Relationships with people are like plants; some are watered more frequently than others.

Kristianne Molina Studio
Photo Credit: Kristianne Molina

In Ryan Holiday’s book Ego is the enemy he calls this Plus, Minus and Equals. Plus is someone who is teaching you, Minus is someone you are passing it on to, and Equal is someone who is your match. You should have people filling each category.

What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business? 

I believe understanding your perspective is important. Take some time to assess your resources and build with what you have currently. Own what makes you different. It took me a while to wake up to the fact that most days I am the only Asian in the room and being a Filipino was a marginalized Asian culture until the last few years.

When I decided to have my first child and chose to continue my creative work, someone had the audacity to say to me, “I thought you would give up once you got pregnant.” We’re living in the 21st century. Overall, I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow independently outside of my social roles, because that to me, it is a luxury.

Work hard and be nice.

Kristianne Molina Studio
Photo Credit: Kristianne Molina

Own what makes you different. It took me a while to wake up to the fact that most days I am the only Asian in the room and being a Filipino was a marginalized Asian culture until the last few years.

Place that inspires me the most… Nature, a library and the ocean, unfortunately all three are in detrimental states. But there is beauty in the transient.

I feel most powerful when… When I give to others and myself freely, and it doesn’t have to be monetary.

I love what I do because… It scares me and it frees me.

Best advice I have ever received… Take advice but don’t take advice. Don’t wait to be inspired.

Melissa Mercado

WITHLOVEMELISSA

MELISSA MERCADO
ARTIST
PG COUNTY, MARYLAND

Behind every artist is a muse; behind every successful man is a hardworking woman – and it takes a strong foundation for couples to thrive together in an ever-changing industry to help each other grow and stay on top of their game. I met Melissa through a good friend of mine, L aka Naturel, a couple of years ago – and I have always admired how she balanced motherhood & family and hustle as an artist. Melissa’s artwork – “clean lines, minimal content and solid colors” – also reflects her energy: avant-garde – a modern woman who is not compelled to “choose”, but “juggles” different aspects of her life, and never settles for anything less than great.

“I am inspired by all women, I feel like I celebrate who we are when I create – it’s for us.”

How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?

I love to clean and organize pretty much everything. I’m a little bit of a minimalist as well. Those habits are such a big part of who I am that it carries over into my work. My artwork and design usually reflects clean lines, minimal content and solid colors. If you ask my family and friends, I’m a total Virgo! Even though it’s not always achieved – I crave some type of perfection in anything I do.

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How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?

My mother is the reason why I even pursued art and design. When I was young, my teachers, principals and my mom created avenues for me to water my talent – they were all women. My mom pushed me to go to art/design school for college and showed me I can make a living off of my creativity. I am inspired by all women, I feel like I celebrate who we are when I create, it’s for us.

http://www.withlovemelissa.com/

“I don’t think too much about staying relevant because that tends to fog up creativity.”

http://www.withlovemelissa.com/

” Artwork comes from within, and it’s hard to create if you are thinking about what everyone else wants from you – staying ahead of the curve is putting a piece out with a “fuck it, take it or leave it” attitude.”

http://www.withlovemelissa.com/

Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?

I love pop culture and fashion, so keeping up with trends doesn’t feel like a task. There are so many resources available like social media, blogs and just walking around your surroundings. I don’t think too much about staying relevant because that tends to fog up creativity. Artwork comes from within, and it’s hard to create if you are thinking about what everyone else wants from you – staying ahead of the curve is putting a piece out with a “fuck it, take it or leave it” attitude.

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How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?

I’ve said it before, I’m a Virgo but I’m also a mother – staying organized helps me achieve those goals; it’s a part of who I am. My king and I made a culture of creativity at home and so as tired as I am, it’s always in my face. Hanging out with our daughter stirs up all types of inspiration for us.

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“We’re not built to know it all, so we constantly learn from everyone around us.”

How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?

Mentors are very important. We’re not built to know it all, so we constantly learn from everyone around us. My very first mentor was my mom, instead of introducing me to a conventional career path, she introduced me to art & graphic design. College had a very intimate setting so I had a lot of one on one time with my professors – too many to name but they all made a good impact on my career path. There was a point in my life where I entered the world of makeup artistry, beauty & fashion. I learned so much from the artists and photographers I worked with. Currently, I am blessed with loving and living with a huge inspiration, my king –Naturel. I can’t wait to work with and learn from other artists and designers – my list of mentors will never end!

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What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?

No matter how difficult things get – because it will get pretty unbearable sometimes – push through! Faith, hard work, and passion breed good results even if the results aren’t immediate. You can plan life all you want, but you can’t control what happens. Everything you go through – good and bad – leads up to your dreams and goals… so don’t give up!

http://www.withlovemelissa.com/

Place that inspires me the most… There isn’t a specific place but where I grew up (PG County, Maryland) has a lot to do with the pieces I cultivate; some are inspired from the music, street culture and experiences I’ve had. As far as art and style, I find inspiration traveling, decorating my home and even shopping – as crazy as that sounds! Lol.

http://www.withlovemelissa.com/

I feel most powerful when… I feel good, look good, and hold it down for my family!

WITHLOVEMELISSA

I love what I do because… I can wake up every morning and decide what I am going to do with my day.

http://www.withlovemelissa.com/

Best advice I have ever received… Love and take care of yourself first and you’ll be able love and care for others.

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Connect with Melissa Mercado on Twitter and Instagram!

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